State Rep. Jon Richards announces candidacy for state Attorney General

State Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, announced his candidacy Wednesday for Wisconsin Attorney General in the 2014 election.

The position will be open after current state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would not seek re-election in 2014.

Richards said his record of serving in the state Legislature and working as an attorney qualified him for the position.

“I think it is important for the attorney general to be tough on crime but also to be politically independent and to restore the historical image of the Department of Justice, in promoting clean and open government to Wisconsin,” Richards said.

In a Wednesday press release, Richards named increased street violence, heroin abuse and domestic violence as key issues he would address if elected. As part of cracking down on drug abuse, Richards promised not to ignore drug addiction by filling local jails, but to use support programs to rehabilitate individuals. He also mentioned the importance of setting aside partisan politics in order to focus on the needs of citizens.

Richards authored Wisconsin’s open meeting law, which he cited as key legislation in his efforts to maintain transparent local government.

“I think it is important for everybody to have access to what is going on in their government and access to meetings and access to those materials,” Richards said.

State Republicans criticized Richards public safety record in a press release citing Richards’ vote for the state’s Early Release program, which allows criminals to be released before serving their full sentences.

Richards will give a formal announcement and then travel across the state to meet with voters.

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